• Thomas Dejgaard Pedersen
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
This master thesis is taking the Swedish lack of a successful new right party under ex-amination in a comparative perspective between Denmark and Sweden. Existing models of explanation have yet not been able to shed light over this particular difference. This is the reason why this master thesis constructs the hypothesis that the difference between Denmark and Sweden in attitudes together with the making of attitudes, can explain the low voter support of new right parties in Sweden. It comes to show that Danes are in fact more authoritarian in their attitudes than Swedes, which is the kind of attitudes that the new right is mobilizing on. In addition to the main hypothesis, two smaller hypotheses are constructed, both of them related to the main hypothesis. First of all, that the Swedish workers are more lib-ertarian than the Danish in spite of the authoritarian predisposal. Secondly, that the one-sided libertarian messages of the Swedish political elite, affects the making of atti-tude in a libertarian direction among the Swedish people. Additionally, two plausible ex-planations of the variation of the support of the new right in Denmark and Sweden are considered. The first explanation is a model of changed voter preference and political competition. Here I take a closer look at the value political cleavage, and if it is politicized just as much in Denmark as in Sweden. The other explanation, argues that the liberal and the conservative party in Sweden have not got the incentive to invoke value political issues. This is due to the fact that they cannot seize the power of government in Sweden without having the center-right wing parties in a government coalition, and these par-ticular parties are libertarian set on value political issues. The data used in the study comes exclusively from the latest election surveys made in Denmark and Sweden, being from the elections in 2007 and 2006, respectively. This pro-vides the best basis of comparison for election studies in Scandinavia to date. The analysis is parted into four, those being (1) to investigate the assumptions of the main hypothesis, i.e. if the Swedes have more libertarian attitudes and if there is a con-nection between voting new right and having authoritarian attitudes. (2) Investigating the hypothesis of authoritarian predispositions among workers. (3) Taking a closer look at the construction of the political space in Denmark and Sweden, respectively, and if the conservative parties in Sweden have got incentive to articulate value political issues. (4) Investigating if it is the libertarian political messages in Sweden which explains the dif-ference in authoritarian attitudes between Denmark and Sweden. All the analysis verifies the main hypothesis and shows that the Swedes in general have more libertarian attitudes, just as the new right parties are dependent on the authoritar-ian voters. I can also conclude that the workers and the low-skilled are the most authori-tarian voter, and they constitute the most important group of voters for the new right parties. The study also demonstrates that the labour movement has not got a great influ-ence on the attitudes of the workers. The analysis of the influence of the value political cleavage on Swedish and Danish voter behavior shows that this cleavage is not activated. As a consequence of this the liberal and the conservative parties have not got any incen-tive to invoke value political issues. The last analysis shows that the making of attitude reflects the political messages in Sweden. Thus the workers, who normally are predis-posed of having authoritarian attitudes, are marked by the libertarian articulation of the value politic and therefore have more libertarian attitudes than their Danish equals. The analysis also shows that the affect of the political messages is dependent on the quantity and how much knowledge one has of politic. Thus the conclusion is that the difference between Denmark and Sweden in the degree of authoritarian attitudes is explanatory of the low voter support of new right, as new right is dependent on voters with authoritarian attitudes. The reason why Sweden yet have not got a new right party in the “Rigsdagen” is connected with the fact that the most impor-tant voters for the new right, the workers, are being directed in a libertarian direction by the established political elite, and thus have not got attitudes consistent with those of the new right parties. Moreover the conservative and the liberal parties have not got any incentive to invoke value political issues, if they want to keep the power of government that is, as a consequence the value political cleavage does not activate. As long as this is the case, the messages of the political elite will not change substantially and new right parties in Sweden will have a hard time achieving a greater voter support. The possibility structure of the parties and the authoritative attitudes of the voters are in this way con-nected through the politicization of the value political cleavage. This is why it might be possible to the biggest new right party in Sweden, Sverigedemokraterna, to activate the cleavage, given that there are elements of authoritative attitudes to politicize, especially issues on immigration. It might be possible to the party, because the media and the re-maining political elite have started to take the party seriously as the poles are omproving.
Publication date2008
Publishing institutionInstitut for Økonomi, Politik & Forvaltning, Aalborg Universitet
ID: 15036737